David Upham selected as Luther College Sperati Award recipient

September 28, 2017

David Upham, Luther class of 1992, is the recipient of the 2017 Dr. Carlo A. Sperati award.

Upham will be presented with the award at the Homecoming concert, 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8, where the Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band and Nordic Choir will perform.

The award is named for Carlo Sperati, Luther class of 1888, Luther professor of music and director of the Concert Band from 1905-43, and the driving force behind the tradition of music touring at Luther.

For the past seven years, Upham has served as the Director of Orchestras and assistant professor of music education at the University of New Hampshire. He rehearses and conducts the University Symphony Orchestra and is responsible for program management, including recruitment and budgeting.

In 2013, Upham founded the University of New Hampshire Youth Symphony Orchestras, launching the university’s youth orchestra program, which provides local students a place to study and perform with string instruments. In addition, students at UNH receive teaching experience. Upham’s role in the youth program includes recruitment of students, arranging auditions and publicity, and conducting the Concert Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra.

Prior to moving to the east coast, Upham was the music director of the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra in Seattle, Washington. He served as the associate conductor of the Rainier Symphony Orchestra in Tukwila, Washington, and an orchestra director and classroom instructor for the Seattle Conservatory of Music. For five academic years, he was the orchestra director at Newport High School in Bellevue, Washington. He also spent four years as the conductor of the Classical Orchestra for the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Upham has served as a guest conductor at copious engagements. From 2010-16, he was the orchestra conductor at the Lutheran Summer Music Academy, a month-long festival for high school musicians in the Midwest. At the academy, Upham conducted the chamber music ensembles. He currently conducts the Summer Youth Music School through the University of New Hampshire.

Upon his graduation from Luther, Upham earned a Master of Music in orchestral conducting in 1995 from the University of Northern Colorado. He received post-graduate study in orchestra conducting at the University of Northern Colorado, and in 2007 received his Doctor of Musical Arts in instrumental conducting at the University of Washington.

Upham’s father, Leonard Upham, was the Dr. Carlo A. Sperati Award recipient in 1992. His sister, Laura (Upham) Sandham, is a 1991 Luther graduate and currently a choral director in Rosemount, Minnesota.

Luther is home to one of the largest collegiate music programs in the nation, with six choirs, three orchestras, three bands, two jazz bands and more than 800 student musicians. Luther students participate in large ensembles, faculty-coached chamber groups, private lessons and master classes. Nearly 275 music majors study music theory, ear training, history, education, composition, jazz, church music and performance.